Bold efforts to push academic publishing towards an open-access model are gaining steam. Negotiators from libraries and university consortia across Europe are sharing tactics on how to broker new kinds of contracts that could see more articles appear outside paywalls. And inspired by the results of a stand-off in Germany, they increasingly declare that if they don’t like what publishers offer, they will refuse to pay for journal access at all. On 16 May, a Swedish consortium became the latest to say that it wouldn’t renew its contract, with publishing giant Elsevier.
A lot of this research in partially or fully tax-funded, and as such, published articles must be freely available to the public. Good development.
I’m surprised the article doesn’t mention pressure from the other side too. In the UK, any publications submitted to the REF (the assessment UK researchers benchmark themselves by) must be Open Access: https://www.openaccess.cam.ac.uk/policies/ref2021
Similarly all published Horizon 2020 research must be Open Access: https://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/docs/h2020-funding-guide/…
H2020 has gone even further though, encouraging not just Open Access publications, but also Open Access to research data, which can be just as important. The next step has to be mandatory Open Access to the computer programs used in the research too, so they can be properly replicated. Publishers have no control over whether data or software is published, so it’s shameful it doesn’t happen more widely already.
A good step towards openness of knowledge. Nice.
The unfortunate reality is that virtually all the Open Access journals are utter shit. Unscrupulous academics use them to boost their publishing rate for funding and promotion.
Last week I looked at the work of a university Professor. She had published about 5 articles in legitimate journals in 20 years. Then she started publishing in Open Access journals. Nearly 100 absolute crap papers were published in 10 years. She got a promotion to full Professor and her own lab.